15 September 2020

Lili Horvát’s second feature on show at Toronto IFF– FIRST REVIEWS

PREPARATIONS TO BE TOGETHER FOR AN UNKNOWN PERIOD OF TIME celebrated its world premiere at Venice Days / Le Giornate Degli Autori during Venice IFF. As one of the few films selected, the film by writer-director Lili Horvát has its North American premiere at this year’s special edition of the Toronto IFF.  



“Superb Noirish Hungarian Drama - Slippery, supple and sinuous, Hungarian director Lili Horvát’s deliciously reworked psychological noir is a spiral staircase, polished to a glossy shine, down which unreliable motivations, self-delusions and romantic obsessions tumble in gorgeous 35mm.”  


“Such a mouthful of a title, poetic and unwieldy, belies the starkness of Hungarian writer/director Lili Horvát’s haunting and mysterious second feature, a kind of amnesiac love story crossed with the gloomiest of Krzysztof Kieslowski movies, and bordering on existential science fiction.” “It’s absolutely gorgeously shot by cinematographer Róbert Maly, glowing with a brittle beauty in contrast to the sulky exteriors of Budapest, here cast as a depressing Eastern European city, but also a dreamscape in which Márta can play.” “Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time is as complex as the organ it makes its primary subject — ultimately the brain, not the heart — but also filled with unknowable synapses and urges locked up and left unsolved forever. Still, this one sticks in your head.” 

"A consummate artist in the fields of psychological and atmospheric suspense, filmmaker Lili Horvát dissects the shifting lines between desire and reality." "It’s a suspense-filled and nigh-on Cassavetes-style mirror exploration of a woman’s emotions and of the boundless potential for human projection; it’s an offering which is also greatly indebted to its lead actress Natasa Stork, to the atmosphere of “depressive” realism which is expertly conveyed through the film’s images and to its wonderful mastery of the many smaller, suggestive details which come together to form a fascinating puzzle."


"Lili Horvát, who put a Hitchcockian spin on the age-old psycho lady genre with her sophomore feature Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time and created something wholly mysterious, captivating." "Aided by Stork’s restrained, enigmatic performance, Horvát has crafted an atmospheric, well-paced mystery drama that defies expectations and thoroughly intrigues."  


Memento meets The Double Life of Veronique - What would you do if the love of your life disavowed any knowledge of you? That is the curious situation that Marta finds herself in after returning to Budapest from decades abroad. She believes – she knows for a fact – that Janos, whom she met while in New Jersey, knows her and loves her. Yet when she plans a rendezvous back in Hungary, Janos says he has no idea who she is or what she is talking about. This throws Marta, a neurosurgeon who is beginning to doubt her own work, into a state of existential crisis, one that director Lili Horvat teases with curiosity and ambiguity, as if Krzysztof Kieslowski were alive and well and making movies in Budapest. The ending twists the knife, but just enough that you’ll bleed out satisfied.”  

The Globe and Mail   

“Intriguing in its insinuations and bolstered by a striking lead performance, Horvat suggests a series of ‘what ifs” which recall classic Hollywood narratives reworked in a contemporary era of alienation and estrangement.” “Kudos to Horvat for resisting any predictable sense of a love triangle in an exercise which really ends up being all about the allure of successful romantic entanglements dependent on a lack of communication – in other words, the projection of one’s own interests and fantasies which evaporate once the recipient’s input is received.”  


“… immaculately crafted sophomore feature (…) What could have been daft or pretentious, is transformed by Stork’s performance that lifts the feature out of the mundane and into a sinuous psychological game cat and mouse.”  


“Lead actress Stork is often mesmerizing as Márta able in equal turn to portray the serious neurosurgeon as well as the potentially unreliable narrator, often in the same scene. Director Horvát’s decision to shoot completely in 35 mm makes the film often have a nostalgic and romantic feel. Her ability to craft this slowly unfolding puzzle makes her a writer/director to watch.”